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Blount road crews work on road slide with $1M pricetag

7:10 PM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
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The Blount County road superintendent calls a recent road slide in Walland the worst rain damage he's seen in 30 years.

Since the start of the year, a 250-foot portion of Long Rifle Road in Walland has been slowly crumbling away down a 300-foot mountain.

"It really happened suddenly. It was like in moments, it was gone," said nearby resident Samantha Barton, whose house sits above the slide. "Huge amounts of dirt were gone. Trees were turned into matchsticks."

Engineers said the slide has been growing for the last few weeks as more than a foot of precipitation fell in that area in the last month.

"We'll be sending our guys to check on the barricades at least every other day to make sure the safety measures are in place," said Ronnie Sharp with the Blount County Road Department.

Now, as engineers try and halt the slide, they are running into one massive problem: the price tag.

"It could go north of $1 million easily because the difficulty we're working with right now is the working conditions," said Chris Soro with engineering firm C2RL. "It's almost a vertical face where the slope has failed. So that's the problem of getting construction equipment up there."

If it does cost that much, engineers hope TEMA will provide some assistance along with county commission's assistance. Until they secure that funding, residents like Barton will watch and wait to see how far this slide will go.

"We got the wonderful views and the nature around us, so no we don't want to leave," she said.

Both Blount and nearby Sevier Counties are working together to provide emergency assistance in case residents, like the Bartons, need it.

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